Rupak wins Central Open crown

KATHMANDU: Amateur golfer Rupak Acharya won the Surya Nepal Central Open here at the Gokarna Golf Club today.

The top amateur of the country carded one-over 73 on the final day at the home course for a total of four-under 284 that gave him the nine-stroke victory over Pokhara pro Deepak Neupane, who shot five-over 77 today.

Rupak, the younger brother of Gokarna Golf Director and teaching pro Deepak Acharya, became the only second Nepali amateur to win the main trophy after Shiva Ram Shrestha, now a pro, who won the two-day event -- Surya Nepal Western Open in Pokhara in 2005. The trophy is fifth for Rupak in six events held under the Surya Nepal Tour 2009-10 and 11th overall. He did not participate in the Surya Nepal Eastern Open as he was engaged in the 11th South Asian Games camp.

"Winning is always good and winning against pros is something special," said Rupak, who led from the first round and never trailed. "Although I won the trophy, I am not satisfied with the scores," said Rupak, whose best scores came in the second round when he carded three-under 69.

Out of the total cash purse of Rs 350,000, Deepak Neupane bagged the top prize of Rs 72,000 as the amateur is not entitled for the cash award. RNGC pro Rabi Khadka was second among the pros at 295 after the final round score of 77 that earned him Rs 46,000. Sanjay Lama, who carded one-over 73, pocketed Rs 36,000 after he finished third with the total score of 10-over 298.

RNGC head pro Deepak Thapa Magar was fourth at 300, earning Rs 30,000, while Rajan Thapa received Rs 24,000 for the fifth-place with the scores of 302. Armyman Dhana Thapa and Ram Thapa were tied for sixth at 304, while Dharan pro Mani Rai (305), CB Bhandari (307) and Deepak Acharya (310) claimed the eighth, ninth and 10th position respectively. The top 19 pros got their share of prize.

Rupak, who had a five-stroke advantage over Deepak going into the final round, was never threatened during the entire 18 holes. Rabi, further two strokes adrift, was also in the leader's group. Instead of attacking the leader, the pros were busy in maintaining their positions. While Rupak and Deepak took a turn at one-over 37, Rabi slipped further back after he shot two-over 38. On the back nine, Rupak emerged triumphant as Deepak shot four-over 40 and Rabi fired three-over 39.

Rupak's front nine score included two birdies against three bogeys, while he fired two birdies and as many bogeys on the back nine. Deepak reduced the deficit to four strokes when Rupak shot a bogey in the 11th, but the leader restored his advantage in the 13th where Deepak had the similar fate. Deepak fell further behind when he had a double par on the par-3 16th after his tee shot fell into the lake.

Apart from the main trophy, Rupak also received the amateur's crown, ahead of Samundra Giri (301) and Ramesh Adhikari (318). A total of 23 pros and 12 amateurs had participated in the four-day event organised by Nepal Professional Golfers Association under the sponsorship of Surya Nepal Pvt Ltd. President of Nepal PGA Rabindra Man Shrestha, Marketing Manager of Surya Nepal Pvt Ltd Abhijit Chakravorty and Chairman of Gokarna Forest Resort Prem Sachdev handed over the prizes to the winners.